Language of Falconry

Aldo equipment.JPG
Aldo’s equipment is literally “under my thumb.”

Some words used in falconry, like mew or jess, are very specific to raptors. Other terms have been adapted for use in our everyday lives. Considering falconry’s history going back thousands of years, it is not surprising to see these terms work their way into our language. These are just a few examples of common phrases rooted in falconry:

  • A bird that has eaten too much is “fed up” and lacks the motivation to hunt or work for the falconer, just like a person that is fed up and unwilling to cooperate.
  • Before and after a hunt, a falconer holds the bird’s equipment with his thumb to prevent the bird from flying away. The term “under your thumb” has expanded to mean anyone under your control.
  • Some falconry birds are trapped from the wild as adults. Called “haggard” birds, they are often caught during migration when they might be thin and disheveled from their flight, like a haggard human that looks a little rough around the edges.




One thought on “Language of Falconry

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